Arroyo: Lackey should be good to go for Game 6

Arroyo: Lackey should be good to go for Game 6
October 29, 2013, 8:45 pm
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Former Red Sox pitcher and impending free agent Bronson Arroyo joined Danny Picard on his show I'm Just Sayin' on Tuesday. The two discussed everything from what it's like to be Jonny Gomes' teammate (they were together in Cincinnati) to the goop on Jon Lester's glove and how to pitch to Cardinals slugger Carlos Beltran.

The traditionally durable Arroyo -- who has made at least 32 starts every season since his last season in Boston in 2005 -- also commented on what he thinks is going on with Clay Buchholz and his "dead arm."

"Traditionally, the dead arm thing, you know, honestly, for me, I'm not really sure exactly what that means, to tell you the truth," Arroyo said. "But over the years, I've heard people talk about that. It's usually related to just fatigue. If you have an injury, you're talking about something totally different. When I hear that, over the years, that a guy has a dead arm, it's usually that he's going through a period where he's not pitching well, his stuff isn't quite the same, but he doesn't have an injury. And so we call it this "dead arm" thing, and just maybe he needs a little bit of a break.

"But I don't think that's the case with Clay. I think -- after watching him throw and seeing him toss a little bit on TV and stuff -- I think he's babying the ball a little bit. His velocity is definitely down. There's definitely something going on there that -- he's just not 100 percent. And you can go out there and pitch the way he did the other night and be successful and get away with it in a short amount of time. You couldn't pull that off for two or three months, but if you just need to do it for two or three starts, you can pull it off if you have command and you have some other pitches you can rely on. But there's definitely something going on there that's uncomfortable for him. It's not just fatigue."

The following are some of the other highlights from Arroyo's visit to I'm Just Sayin'. You can listen to the entire interview here (scroll to the 26-minute mark) or on iTunes.

On the substance on Lester's glove in Game 1:
In this type of weather, in cool weather, most guys need something out on the mound in order to have some sort of grip on the ball. Whether it's a bit of shaving cream, or whatever it is that you might want to put on your fingers, mixed with a little bit of rosin to give you a little bit of stickiness. Just as the hitters do with putting pine tar on the bat. I think the real thing is, you don't want anybody having the ability to cut the baseball with a piece of sandpaper, or putting Vaseline or something slippery on the ball that makes the ball do funny things in the air. Getting  grip, I don't think anybody wants a guy like Jon Lester throwing 93-94 without a grip in October in cool weather, and letting one go and hitting somebody in the head. So, something out there of that nature isn't a problem. I think it's just a problem if you've got guys out there who are loading the ball up to make it dance and move funny.

On whether Lackey's relief appearance will affect his ability to start:
It shouldn't at all. Had he gone two or three innings, that's a different story. But one inning, it's about the equivalent to a bullpen, with a little bit more adrenaline in there. It wasn't like he was laboring through the inning, so he should be fine. A lot of times, to be honest with you, late in the year like this, I think, getting on the mound a little bit more frequently like that can keep you really tuned up, keep you sharp. And sometimes in big games, especially late in the season or something like this, it's not good to sit four, five, six days, and have to go out there and try to find your stuff on a big stage like that. I think it's better to be out there to get the nerves out, to be on the mound a little bit more. It's kind of like being a position player. You play every day, you go out on the field on the big stage in the World Series, and you feel good in the box because you've been out there a lot. But sitting on the bench four or five days in a row and just getting that one start, it makes it very difficult to go out and have everything click. So I would think that would be good for Lackey, what he did the other night, coming out of the 'pen.

On David Ortiz's dominance:
It's definitely amazing what he's doing this year, and what he's done for such a long time in the postseason. And putting them in a position where it's crunch time and he can do some damage, they're obviously not going to pitch to him the rest of this series. But I think he's come up to bat a lot of times with nobody on base, or not in damage spots with runners in scoring position. And a lot of times you just have to think that if a guy's got seven hits out of 10 at-bats, that he's not going to stay that hot for the rest of the series. And so, [the Cardinals] just keep going after him, and hoping that he'll make some outs, and he's just not. He's led off some innings with doubles that have turned out to be big innings for the Red Sox and have turned some of these games around. But I think in Games 6 and 7, you're going to find that, especially being in Fenway and being a bit short in right field, I think you're going to see David Ortiz probably walk a few times more than he has in the first five games.

On having Gomes as a teammate:
Jonny brings a lot of things to the table, not just what he does on the baseball field. You talk about a few guys I've played with, Kevin Millar, a guy like Paul Bako, those guys bring such a great swagger to the clubhouse and bring guys together. They come to the park with energy every day. They usually come up with some sort of schtick for the year, which obviously this year it's the beards for those guys. And year-to-year that changes. But Jonny always brings that energy to the park. He's just a fun guy to be around. You want to be at the party with him, you know?

And outside of that, he's also a big clutch guy. He' a guy who's a big swing-and-miss at times, but he hits enough homers every year where he's dangerous in the lineup. He also finds a way to just put a lot of RBIs on the board. I don't know if people talk about that with Jonny, but, Jonny will go a season where he's playing off the bench, and he doesn't get to play every day, and it's not easy to go out there and put up a lot of RBIs. And a lot of years, he's been on teams where he's had more RBIs than all the other outfielders, and he's had two-thirds of those at-bats. And he's just always been that guy. I'm glad to see he's doing well, because he hasn't had a lot of opportunities in his career to play every day, and he's getting to play not on the big stage and show what he can do. And also, having a multi-year deal in Boston, I think helped. Because he's always been on a year-to-year deal. And he finally got a two-year deal with a team who wanted to invest some good money in him and felt like, "Hey, you're going to be here for a couple of years and get comfortable in this uniform." And you can see that it's paying off.

On similarities between this Red Sox team and the 2004 team:
Yeah, a bit. In the last few years, since '04, I think that Red Sox team is very similar to the Cardinals team, and that's why I think you see those guys in the playoffs so much. They just have so much grit to them, you know? There's so many guys in the lineup that foul off pitches, they work starting pitchers, they look like they just came from a 9-to-5 job. You hear all the stereotypical things, the "blue-collar" guys, and it's just something about both of those clubs. They just grind out at-bats, and they find ways to win ball games. And those are the teams that wind up winning championships, and that's why you see them year-after-year playing for a chance to win a division.

On the danger Beltran poses to opposing pitchers:
Given the lineup that they have, where [Allen] Craig's not as healthy as he has been, I mean, he's hit over .400 with runners in scoring position the last two years, which has been astonishing, and as a ball club, they hit over .300 this past year with runners in scoring position, which is crazy. But I think [Carlos] Beltran has got to be the guy, just because he has done so much damage in the playoffs, he's done damage in this series, and I think you just have to stay away from letting him hit the long ball. Keep the ball down and away to him, and let him serve you to left field and not let him put some RBIs on the board.

On the endings to Game 3 (obstruction call) and Game 4 (a pickoff at first):
Yeah, those are both tough, and those are both weird endings to games. But for me, I think the pick-off would be worse, only because I think the obstruction call was just a play that just happened. There wasn't a whole lot that anybody could do about it. And Middlebrooks was laying flat down on his face. He didn't necessarily know that the back end of his legs were up in the air and were going to trip a guy up, so it really wasn't anybody's fault. But being picked off in a big situation like that is just a mistake that can't be made. I thought a lot of times this year that we made base-running mistakes with the Cincinnati Reds, and you just feel like those are giving outs away. And so, I think the pick-off, to me, would be a bit frustrating.

On if the obstruction rule should be changed:
Yeah I think it probably does. I heard a little bit about it on TV, and it makes sense. Obviously intent means everything. And there's other parts of the game where I feel like umpires do have that leeway to use their judgement, on whether you're intentionally throwing at hitter or not, and there's other parts of the game where that happens. So I think they should have a little bit more room to say, "This was on purpose" or "This wasn't on purpose." And it definitely, it matters. So on a play like that, you never want to see a game end on something silly like that, but as the rule stands, I thought they made the right call. And if roles were reversed, I think Red Sox fans would want that win. When it happens to you, it's obviously terrible to end a ball game like that. But they definitely need to look at the rule, make it a bit easier for umpires to say, "You know what, that was a complete accident. The shortstop was trying to cut the ball off and ran into the guy coming around second base, and that's not going to be obstruction."

On his World Series prediction:
I think the Sox have a good, good chance to win Game 6. They're back home. Fenway Park is definitely a different animal to deal with. It's hard for teams to close ball games out there late. So I think the Sox take Game 6, but if they don't, then I'd probably go with the Cardinals in Game 7. I think whoever they'll have out there, starting pitching-wise, is probably going to be a bit more comfortable on the mound than [Jake] Peavy or Buchholz has been lately. So I think if the Red Sox don't take Game 6, they could be in trouble in Game 7.

On his impending free agency:
Yeah, it's going to be the first time I've been a free agent, and I guess I'm just going to field the offers and see what happens. It's the first time I've been in this position. I signed back with the Red Sox early, and signed back with the Reds a couple of times early. I really enjoyed playing for one organization, and knowing everybody from the owner down to the guys that clean the clubhouse, feeling like it's a family atmosphere. And I haven't wanted to leave wherever I've been for a long time. And I think, economically, the Reds can't afford me anymore, probably. So we're just waiting to see what happens and see who shows interest. I don't really have any places that I would love to go, but there's not any places that I don't want to go. So it's going to be an interesting offseason to find out where I land.